King’s Lynn to face old rivals
King's Lynn will line up against Elite League champions Coventry and neighbours Peterborough this coming season after a dramatic 11th hour reprieve for the duo.
On the eve of the Stars' press and practice day on Wednesday, the Bees and Panthers have reached a compromise solution with the sport's governing body following a winter marred by the threat of legal action.
Lynn will now line up in a ten club top tier after Coventry and Peterborough looked to have been excluded for 2011 after failing to resolve their differences with the BSPA hierarchy which first surfaced at the annual winter conference.
Bees' team manager Alun Rossiter admitted the club's nightmare off-season had left him 'mentally drained' but believes the Elite League will be better off in the long term.
'We're just looking forward now to a great ten team league this year,' he said. 'We've been crying out for more teams in the league and we've finally got it. There's no point looking back – let's look forward.
'We've had two great teams come in. We've got a big city in Birmingham and a very, very professionally run club from Norfolk in the King's Lynn Stars. We're going to benefit, everybody is going to benefit. It will offer a little bit more variety and more excitement.'
Coventry have been linked with the likes of Hans Andersen, Kenni Larsen, Edward Kennett and Ryan Fisher after the winter deadlock saw British number one rider Chris Harris leave Brandon to join Belle Vue.
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Peterborough have already unveiled former King's Lynn racer Nicki Pedersen as their new number one at the Showground to replace compatriot Kenneth Bjerre who has moved to the Norfolk Arena.
The Danish international has sat out the last three seasons in Britain but the former Eastbourne rider cannot wait to make his comeback with a club situated just over an hour from his Stevenage home.
'It is a well-run club with ambitions of fighting for the championship within the next two to three seasons,' he said. 'Our team building for 2011 has understandably been disrupted due to the much-publicised political problems with the BSPA. But the plans sound great, I am looking forward to riding in the UK again, and Peterborough is a track I really enjoy riding.'
Former Lynn grand slam winner Troy Batchelor and Swedish racer Linus Sundstrom could also line up with Pedersen for the Panthers.
'I am thrilled to bits to sign Nicki,' said Panthers' team manager Trevor Swales. 'I first tried to sign him when he came to England to begin a professional career, but then Newcastle got his signature.
'But now we can present a multi-world champion as the spearhead of our team, and I can't wait for the season to start. Nicki is a really nice guy off the track, and value for money on it. He is very popular with our supporters.'